The first Town Hall meeting of 2019 and the first-ever with newly elected Mayor Dr. Steven Huang was held Monday, January 7 in the Crowell Public Library’s Barth Community Room. Approximately 20 residents and civic leaders attended. The meeting included achievements that each department achieved in 2018 and targeted goals for 2019.
The Town Hall meeting is the first of a series to be held for the general public on the first Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at the library, according to City Manager Dr. Marcella Marlowe. Huang said he views the meetings as a way to gain direct perspective from residents.
“I kind of want to get feedback from these meetings and see what [residents] want,” said Huang.
Residents brought up attention points on the future of diagonal parking on Huntington Drive in upcoming Public Safety Commission meetings, rainwater collection barrels and glass window standards in construction.
In the presentation, Huang touched on the City Manager’s Office goals to overhaul the budget process to ensure “transparency and success,” as well as launching an in-depth social media presence and fully implementing Envisio, the city’s new Strategic Plan and Performance Management software.
“We want to make sure the public knows everything we’re doing and everything’s transparent,” said Huang.
The Finance Department plans to update city policies as they relate to investment management and procurement so to be in accordance with government code and best practices and to update accounting software to a cloud-based format for more accurate reporting.
For the Planning and Building Department, the goals are to enforce the newly adopted Historic Preservation Ordinance and Tree Preservation Ordinance, finalize the City-wide Historic Resources Survey, and begin construction of the Economic Development Program (EDP) which will include a retention program for current businesses and techniques to bring in new businesses.
For the Police Department, Huang noted a “significant drop” in crime in 2018. Plans for 2019 include continuing to reduce Part 1 crimes (murder and nonnegligent homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, larceny-theft, and arson, according to Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics) with a focus on burglary and larceny as well as supporting and expanding community outreach programs such as Neighborhood Watch and the Community Police Academy.
Within the Fire Department, the goals include completing plan to upgrade the Emergency Operations Center, conduct a citywide emergency operations exercise with city staff, department heads and the school district, and also to purchase and put into service the life-saving equipment “AutoPulse,” a system which provides automated CPR to those in cardiac arrest, for both Engine and Rescue Ambulance 91.
In the Parks and Public Works Department, the city plans to complete the construction of the Lacy Park restroom on time and at budget, complete the condition assessment of the city’s wastewater collection system and start a similar condition assessment of the storm drainage system and also to complete the fiscal year 2018 street resurfacing project and begin the fiscal year 2019 street resurfacing project.
“We have a Strategic Planning committee that came up with a recommendation that we should move 40 percent of our finance in the reserve to the capital fund which we’ll use to improve our streets because if we don’t improve our streets on an annual basis, let’s say if we wait for 7 years later, it will be too late and a point of new return which will cost us more to maintain the streets,” said Huang.
For the Recreation Department, the city plans to hire a new Community Services Director to oversee the department and the Crowell Public Library. There will also be a proposal to re-envision the department. Huang mentioned he’d also like to settle the question of the use of Stoneman School.
“This year I want to see what we can do with Stoneman, once and for all,” said Huang. “We want to figure out what the long-term solution is. It’s an old building. Some people want to keep it, some people want to demolish it.”
For the Crowell Public Library, the library was ranked in the top 5.9 percent of libraries in its class in the nation and in the top 10 in California in Library Journal’s “Star Libraries” in 2018. The library’s plans include completing RFID tagging of materials and implementing innovative children’s programming including STEM Pre-School Storytime and programs like “Girls Who Code.”
The fiscal year 2018-19 budget includes total expected revenue of $30,740,773 with a general fund revenue of $28,598,60. Total approved expenditures are $27,762,458 with General Fund expenditures of $23,128,193. As of June 30, 2018, General Fund reserves totaled $12.5 million, according to Marlowe.
The next Town Hall meeting will be held on Friday, Jan. 18 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Chinese Club of San Marino, which is located at 2425 Huntington Dr.